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controller_script_modules

Summary

Status: This specification is in progress. Please feel free to edit this page and add your comments.

This is a proposal to introduce a module system into the controller script engine.

It's time to bring software engineering practices to the script system. There are numerous practices that we could introduce to controller scripts that would help improve the quality and reliability of controller script – static analysis tools, linting, versioning, tests, and more. Due to the lack of a module system, the script engine is stuck where the web was in the 90s. The way you include scripts is via the XML file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<MixxxControllerPreset schemaVersion="1" mixxxVersion="1.11+">
    <info>
        <name>My Cool Controller</name>
        <author>Jane DJ</author>
    </info>
    <controller id="CoolController">
        <scriptfiles>
            <file filename="common-hid-packet-parser.js" functionprefix=""/>
            <file filename="common-hid-devices.js" functionprefix=""/>
            <file filename="Cool-Controller.js" functionprefix="CoolController"/>
        </scriptfiles>
    </controller>
</MixxxControllerPreset>

These scripts are loaded sequentially into the global script environment. If one script defines a variable foo and the next one loaded does the same, the first script's variable will be overwritten! Further, within a script there is no way to enforce that you have been loaded after a script you depend on.

Modern Javascript development has evolved past this. Various groups (e.g. the Node community) have developed module systems for Javascript and standardized them into CommonJS. In ES6 a module system was introduced into the language itself, validating the value modules bring to the table.

Benefits

Declarative Dependencies

It is possible to statically analyze what files a given script file depends on.

No Implicit Globals

Explicitly importing a module serves double duty as giving it a binding in the local scope. In all controller scripts, certain globals are assumed to exist such as engine. Static analyzers will complain that engine is an unbound variable without an explicit definition.

Explicit Exports / Modularity / Abstraction

Modules are isolated from each other and can only make use of what is provided from other modules via explicit exports. This promotes abstractions and clean separations between modules.

The sprawling and disorganized common script files are an example of what happens when you don't have a standard way to organize code.

Testability

Once functionality is bundled into a coherent unit, it becomes easier to write a unit test for that functionality. Having Jasmine unit tests would be awesome.

3rd Party Libraries

If we support a standard like CommonJS then we will be better able to include 3rd-party libraries with Mixxx that support the CommonJS standard.

Versioning

Once logic is contained within a module, it will be possible to come up with a versioning scheme. This way, we can allow scripts to depend on a certain version of script by declaring what that version is in their manifest somehow.

Design

Module Definition

Modules will be defined as per the CommonJS 1.0 Spec.

Standard Modules

We will need to define some standard modules that we provide. All global variables that were previously defined will become modules that scripts can require. For backwards compatibility, the root module will have the usual global variables defined.

  • engine
  • controller
  • console

Module Search Paths

Security Considerations

Misc

We should employ a module cache so that multiple requires of the same module in one script engine don't double-parse the module.

Example

Cool Controller.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<MixxxControllerPreset schemaVersion="1" mixxxVersion="1.11+">
    <info>
        <name>My Cool Controller</name>
        <author>Jane DJ</author>
    </info>
    <controller id="CoolController">
        <scriptfiles>
            <file filename="Cool-Controller.js" functionprefix="CoolController"/>
        </scriptfiles>
    </controller>
</MixxxControllerPreset>

Cool-Controller.js

Don't focus too hard on the code, just the module part.

var HIDController = require('hid-controller');
var Engine = require('engine');
var HidPacketParser = require('common-hid-packet-parser');
var HidDevice = require('common-hid-device');
var Button = require('button');
var Knob = require('knob');
 
function CoolControllerDevice() { 
  this.controls = [ new Button('[Channel1]', 'hotcue_1_activate'),
                    new Knob('[Channel1]', 'pregain') ];
}
 
CoolControllerDevice.prototype.onKnobUpdate = function(knob, parameter) {
  Engine.setParameter(knob.getGroup(), knob.getKey(), parameter); 
}
 
// Inherit from HIDController.
CoolControllerDevice.prototype = Object.create(HIDController.prototype);
CoolControllerDevice.prototype.constructor = CoolControllerDevice;
 
var CoolController = new CoolControllerDevice();

knob.js

var AbstractControl = require('abstract-control');
 
function Knob(group, key) {
  // Call parent constructor. 
  // Let's say AbstractControl defines getGroup and getKey.
  AbstractControl.call(group, key);
}
Knob.prototype = Object.create(AbstractControl.prototype);
Knob.prototype.constructor = Knob;
 
exports = Knob;

Work Breakdown

Current Progress

  • rryan has a WIP implementation of require working.

Team

Questions

  • Won't this further increase the barrier to entry for would-be controller script writers? Not saying that should stop us, I just want to assess the impact. (Sean)
Translations of this page:
controller_script_modules.txt · Last modified: 2015/12/11 12:31 by pegasus